Monday, June 4, 2007

Getting Started - June 4, 2007

By Ross Forman

            I have long thought the best way to go 26.2 miles is by car, ideally with someone else driving. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been, at the very least, intrigued at the thought of running a marathon. So few try it, even fewer finish.

            The National AIDS Marathon Training Program (NAMTP) claims that a marathon is something anyone and everyone can accomplish, if dedicated and committed.

            Well, maybe I need to be committed (to a room with padded walls) because I’m gonna give this NAMTP a run, literally. I am officially throwing my hat into the marathon ring.

            In Florence, Italy, of all places.

            The NAMTP’s spring training session (now underway) leads to the Chicago Marathon or the Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon, both in October. I’m too late to start training for those. The NAMTP’s summer session, which trains potential marathoners for the Las Vegas Marathon on Dec. 2 and the Florence Marathon a week earlier, formally kicks off along the lakefront on June 9 with the group’s first official run: a three-mile journey.

            And I’ll be there.

            Yes, Ryan, I’m now a member of “The Runner’s Club.”

            I’m actually excited for the six months of training, not too nervous. How will I feel? Will I be able to finish? What can I eat? What can’t I eat? What if I miss a Saturday morning training session? How sore will I be?

            So many questions, so few answers … at least as of now.

            I’ve been in and around sports my whole life – writing, playing and now mostly just officiating. Sure, there’s a lot of cardio conditioning involved in the ice hockey that I referee, but that’s nothing compared to running a marathon. Even at the high school and college level that I officiate.

            When I not writing, I work in the world of professional wrestling, and there’s no business that’s more fitness-driven than pro wrestling. Many of the muscle-packed wrestlers can lift small cars, but I’m sure none has run a marathon. It’s definitely motivation to finish, to do something fitness-related that, again, none has ever even attempted. And I’m talking about some of the biggest names in the game, from Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner to Sting, Jeff Jarrett and Christian Cage.

            I know several marathon runners, including Randall, a longtime friend who I officiated hockey with. Two years ago he shocked me when he said he was running the Chicago Marathon. Randall, you see, is more interested in drinking beer than training. However, he ran; I saw him running and he finished – in about four hours, amazingly.

            Watching Randall run was the first time I really thought about running a marathon.

            Motivation comes in many forms, too, I’ve learned over the past few weeks as I’ve contemplated this life-changing decision. Hector, for instance, is motivation.  He’s changed from a fat 270-pounder to, truly, an Ironman. Then there’s Chuck, who laughs at me almost every time I mention it – because he thinks I’ll never finish. And he even bet me $1 that I won’t finish. It will be so sweet to collect that dollar.

            I will document my marathon journey over the next seven months with regular updates. I’ll share my training, my ups and my downs, my concerns and my accomplishments, and more.

            Until next time, I’m off to run,


            Ross Forman can be reached at:

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